German government approves 30pc quota for female executives

6 Mar 2015

The German government has finally approved a new law that will require all company board rooms to have at least 30pc of its members female having first raised the proposal two years ago.

Starting in 2016, the law will apply to 100 listed companies in the country with a further 3,500 firms expected to set targets to get more women into higher executive positions.

This second grouping of board rooms are to be comprised of smaller companies and public services which will aim to meet the 30pc target by 2017, however, these smaller outfits are not expected to be penalised if they don’t meet the quota.

According to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), the passing of the motion, and even the wording of the motion, has received criticism from members of the German parliament, particularly from the Greens, the Left party and a number of Social Democrats for not making the quota even higher.

The country’s ruling party, The Christian Social Union (CSU) and its leader, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, approved the bill, but had been calling for its delay in the previous two years over issues that perceived it as having a negative impact on the economy.

Germany’s family minister, Manuela Schwesig, said the move was “an historic step” for the country and an “historic day” for equality in leadership positions that have traditionally been male-dominated.

Likewise, the German justice minister Heiko Maas, spoke of the bill as being “the biggest contribution to equality since women were granted the right to vote.”

The final step now for its passing into law will be its approval from the German government’s upper chamber, the Bundesrat.

Diverse boardroom image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic